CEBU CITY, Philippines – After exhibiting his paintings on the roadside in various areas of the northern part of Cebu Province, self-taught, full-time Cebuano painter Arnel Salvacion is now exhibiting some of his works on the roadside of Cebu city.
Salvacion, 52, is the gifted painter behind the roadside art gallery in Sogod town, north Cebu, which went online earlier this year and the painting pieces, mostly on the nature, exhibited along R. Duterte in Banawa, Cebu for about a month now.
Read: The artist behind the roadside art gallery in Sogod
His roadside oil-on-canvas gallery in town has definitely caught the attention of Cebuanos and netizens alike.
“Hinay naman sad ang market in Province unya mao tong nakahuna-huna sad nga maayo siguro nga in Cebu City,” Salvacion, from Tuburan City in northwest Cebu, told CDN Digital.
(The provincial market has been slow so I thought it might be best to try Cebu City.)
He said the idea to display his paintings for sale in Cebu City stemmed from an invitation from a hotel in Nivel Hills along Cebu Veterans Drive to display his works in its parking lot. Someone from the hotel, he said, noticed their roadside painting display in Sogod.
They also used to display paintings on the roadsides of Balamban in western Cebu and in his hometown of Tuburan in northwest Cebu.
Salvacion, with the help of his brother-in-law, Azer Tumagna, has been exhibiting his works at the hotel every Saturday and in Banawa from Wednesday to Friday for almost a month now, since last April.
He said he started exhibiting his artwork on the side of the road because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the lockdown prompted him to decide to display his works on the side of the road as authorities restricted mobilization when Cebu was first put under lockdown in 2020.
For an artist and father like him who relies heavily on traveling from office or house to house to market his works, the lockdown has greatly affected his source of income.
Salvacion had no formal education in painting.
He said he started painting when he was 22 and his main interest in a subject was nature as he was fascinated by it.
Before painting professionally and opening a painting business, he also worked as a construction worker.
When he was 16, he said, he worked as a helper at one of Cebu’s painting companies where he used to just prep or paint the canvases with white.
“Hilig man ko’g art nya bahala’g gamay’g sweldo, nidugay jud ko kay gusto ko makat-on. Elementary pa hilig na ko’g art pero wala ko kaapil apil anang art contest kay di man…ultimo krayola maglisod og palit. Tagaan ra ko sa akong mga classmate og mga upos upos nga krayola,” the self-taught painter told CDN Digital.
(I already liked art even though the salary is small, I stayed there longer because I wanted to learn. Since elementary school, I already liked art but I did not participate in art competitions. art because I couldn’t… even a pencil I could barely afford one. My classmate will just give me his used pencils.)
After about six years of working as a helper at a painting company, he says he learned the techniques of painting and decided to quit his job.
He then ventured into his own painting business as he had also improved his painting skills.
“Nakakuha ko’g idea in the market in ilaha kay mauwawon man ko in a. Giingnan ko sa akong amo nga ayaw jud ka uwaw kay wa man ta mangawat. Panginabuhi man ni atoa,” he added, as he has also told CDN Digital that he only had 4,000 pesos when he started his business.
(I got an idea on how to market the paintings from them because I’m a shy person before. My boss told me not to be shy or be ashamed of what we do because we don’t steal. We just have a livelihood.)
The 4,000 pesos he had were used to purchase his very first canvas, paint, and other painting materials.
The self-taught painter recalled that he sold his painting for just 500 pesos apiece many years ago. Now, his regular 24-by-36-inch painting could cost P2,800 and more depending on the design and special requests from his customers.
He admitted that displaying his works on the side of the road has greatly improved his business. On a regular day, he said, they could display at least 20 paintings for sale at Banawa in Cebu City. And on a lucky day, they can sell 10 paintings at most.
Although the main theme of his early works was nature, he says, he began venturing into abstract painting in 2015.
As his painting business slowly grew, he said he was able to train and hire at least some of their neighbors and relatives who were also determined to learn and improve in the business. art of painting.
Salvacion said that they are the ones who mainly respond to clients’ requests for abstract painting.
He said he was also happy and proud to see the potential and interest in painting among his six children.
From now on, the self-taught painter admitted he was determined to continue exhibiting his works on the roadside for as long as it was allowed.
He also said he was also willing to cooperate with the authorities if asked to comply with any requirements allowing him to continue selling his artworks on the roadside.
Salvacion has this to say to budding artists: “Dili lang g’yod sila not recommended. Padayon gyod kay usahay naay panahon nga wala juy halin.
(They shouldn’t be discouraged. Just keep selling because there are days when we don’t have sales.)
He also advised them to keep practicing to improve their craft, citing an example of what he did to improve his painting skills and the theme of his paintings.
“Kung naa ko makita nga view picture-run and ako iimprove kung unsay kuwang aron monindot siya tan awon. Practice lang jud,” Salvacion said.
(If I can see a good view, I’ll take a picture of it and improve what’s missing to make it look better on the eyes.)
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